Work-to-rule cancels breakfast programs in Peel schools

December 21, 2015 – 08:25 pm
  • Education Minister Liz Sandals has said she is concerned about student safety because of the labour disputes. zoom

Peel elementary schools are cancelling breakfast programs — affecting thousands of children — with the board blaming the work-to-rule by support staff and elementary teachers.

Education Minister Liz Sandals was upset the labour dispute has gotten so bad and called the situation “absolutely appalling.”

“There’s just no world in which you can say we’re not disrupting student learning if you disrupt the breakfast club, because we know there’s scads of research that shows that kids can’t learn on empty stomachs, ” she told reporters Wednesday.

“That’s why we have breakfast programs. If kids get proper nutrition, they learn better, so to disrupt the breakfast program is just unforgivable, ” said Sandals, who has previously said she’s concerned about student safety because of the job action.

A letter sent to families from Peel’s Director of Education, Tony Pontes, warns of a number of cancellations — and not just nutrition programs in 100 schools but also open houses, fall fairs and fundraisers, as well as parent council meetings and elections.

“There may be some exceptional situations . . . but otherwise, expect to hear of postponement or cancellations from your child’s school . . . principals and vice-principals have been directed to cancel or postpone all but the core work of the school, ” said Pontes’ letter.

The York Region District School Board also alerted parents to brace for cancellations, though it says such decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis.

In Toronto, senior board staff at the public board are monitoring schools and say breakfast programs will continue for now, but not pizza lunches, which are often used as fundraisers.

CUPE workers — custodians and secretaries among them — ramped up their job action this week, with caretakers refusing to clean hallways, entrances or do any yard upkeep. CUPE workers are also not to collect any money. Elementary teachers too have been directed not to collect money and focus on classroom work.

In response, the Peel board has told principals to focus on classroom learning, and keeping schools safe, and open.

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Source: www.thestar.com

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